Noname Doesn't Need a Label—She Bankrolled 'Room 25' By Herself

“I just don’t like having to ask anyone for anything in terms of finances.”
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Noname is no longer in hiding. Now two-plus years out from the release of her acclaimed album Telefone, the Chicago artist will return with her latest work, Room 25, on September 14. To pre-empt the album, Noname spoke with The FADER about the process of making the project, which she did entirely on her own dime.

“Man, that shit is fucking expensive as hell,” Noname said of coughing up the dough to cover a string arrangement for the album. “Someone has to arrange all the parts and then you have to then hire, like, 12 people, this big-ass orchestral thing. [I paid for] the whole album, everything, myself. And I was like, ‘Do I want to spend this much money on something that’s so minimal?’

“I’m not even a control freak,” she continued. “I just don’t like having to ask anyone for anything in terms of finances. I don’t like having to wait for someone to approve where I can get my idea off. Like, if I want to make an album and I want an orchestra, I’m gonna figure out how to do that. I don’t want to wait around for people to greenlight my creativity.”

When thinking of the quiet ingenuity of Noname’s previous work, her independence and creative fortitude should come as a surprise to no one. Her resolve in the face of financial hurdles—and her ability to overcome them—makes her an inspiring DIY artist.

At the least, Noname is in tune with her unique creative process. As FADER reported, both Telefone and Room 25 were created in a month-span, but each record required months-to-years of stewing before Noname could put her life on wax. The freedom to percolate ideas often evaporates when artists are signed to a label.

Clearly, Noname works on her own internal clock, and all of her music thus far has been worth the wait; Room 25 is shaping up to follow suit.

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